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Full text of "A history of Persia"

PERSIA BEFORE THE REVOLUTION  493
4. Taxes on sheep, goats, etc.
•   5. Taxes on mines.
The revenue of Khorasan from these sources in 1905
was £137,713 "\cash and 21,778 tons of grain (wheat
and barley) in kind. A lame proportion of the grain
was given to pensioners and troops, leaving only 1160
tons to be sold. The fixing of the price was an affair of
much haggling, and needless to say the Government
received very little under this head. The Governor-
General through the Vizier collected about £30,000 above
the estimate. Out of this, £14,000 was paid to the Shah
and £6,000 to the Grand Vizier as pishkash. This left
£10,000 profit, to be divided between the Governor-
General and the Vizier.
But this sum represented only a percentage of the
Governor-General's profits, which were increased by :
(a) Levying a percentage. Q& all cash pensions and
mixing at least 20 per cent of earth in the grants of grain.
(£) Profits from "justice" referred to above.
(i) Profits from the sale of minor governorships and
other posts. It was customary to appoint a man, take
perhaps £400 from him, and then dismiss him a few
months later. His successor would pay about £200 for
the post, which he would hope to hold until the following
No RuZj or New Year's Day.
(d} Sending special officials to enquire into complaints,
real or invented. The local Governors paid large sums
to these men, which they in turn had to give to their
masters, keeping a percentage for themselves.1
(i) Windfalls, such as the death of rich men, brought
in large sums to the Governor-General and Governors,
who extorted them from the heirs.
Taxation.—Of the five kinds of taxes enumerated
above, the first is that on crops. Here the unit is the
plough, the theoretical assumption being that one plough
in three belongs to Government. But, as the plough is
assessed at one-tenth of its actual output of 6500 Ibs. of
grain, the tax levied is one-tenth and is termed Ushr.
The assessments were as a rule very old, and, although
1 Vide The Glory of the Shia World, chap, viii.